Ever since Kobe Bryant played his last game with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, people have begun debating where he stands among the all-time greats.
One particular debate that has been popular for many years and continues to this day is Kobe or LeBron James, as Michael Jordan recently sided with Kobe.
A current teammate of LeBron’s with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Richard Jefferson, recently chimed in on the debate when he appeared on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take, and he not only chose LeBron over Kobe, he doubled down and also chose a former teammate of his, Tim Duncan, over the Laker legend:
“Kobe is not even better than Tim Duncan.”
“I’m going to go MJ one. LeBron two. Still counting though, still counting…. He’s got more years to get to that number one spot. At three I would go Kareem. Four I would go probably Tim, then five I would go Magic. Magic and Kobe are really, really close.”
Jefferson also added that while many young players look at Kobe as their Jordan, it is Magic Johnson that he still believes is the face of the Lakers franchise:
“I would still say Magic is the face of the Lakers. I think from a personality standpoint and just generationally, Kobe was amazing. What he was able to do, he was kind of this generation coming up, he was their Jordan… I’m saying like everyone watched Kobe win multiple championships and all of that. And then the next generation it’ll be LeBron was their [MJ].”
Jefferson has been in the league 16 years and has played with many great players, LeBron and Duncan being two of them, so it makes sense that he would choose them over Kobe, the guy he lost to in the 2002 NBA Finals when he was a rookie on the New Jersey Nets.
In his 20-year career with the Lakers, Kobe won five championships, ranks third in NBA history with 33,643 points scored and second in history with 18 All-Star nominations.
Kobe’s legacy with the Lakers will be set in stone on Dec. 18 when he will become the first player in NBA history to have two different jerseys retired by the same team.